Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer isn’t afraid to read tweets or the comments section to stories about his team. And there was a lot to peruse after Sunday’s loss to Portland at CenturyLink Field, particularly in regards to when and how he used his substitutions.

“That was a talking point (from) social media people and stuff like that,” said Schmetzer, who didn’t make a substitution until dual threat Joevin Jones entered the match for winger Harry Shipp in the 62nd minute.

Seattle was down, ultimately losing 2-1 to its rival to end a 13-game unbeaten streak at home.

“At the end of the day, I’ve always been a little bit conservative,” Schmetzer continued. “What I mean by that is, in these big moments, bigger games, I tend to stick with a senior player and let them win or lose games of that magnitude.

“There certainly was talk on the bench … but I felt Raul (Ruidiaz) or Jordan (Morris), unless there was an injury, were going to play significant minutes in that game. Joevin was the one attacking sub that I pulled from the bench. He’s a little different player than Harry and I was hoping we’d be ahead in the game and some (other) guys could’ve closed out the game.”

Schmetzer never considered making substitutions with his backline, despite the struggles it looked like center back Roman Torres had against Timbers forward Brian Fernandez.

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In fact, Schmetzer is fine with Torres’ performance in his past three starts — the Sounders going 2-1 in those matches. Torres had four shot attempts against Portland, including an on-target header in stoppage time that was saved by goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Xavier Arreaga, a designated player signed in May, was an unused sub at center back the past two MLS matches.

“Roman and Kim (Kee-hee) are good players,” Schmetzer said. “You usually don’t want to sub-out a center back if you don’t have to. I thought Kim and Roman were OK.”

Seattle conceded three goals in its two MLS matches at home last week. The Sounders (10-6-5) travel Thursday and play Houston (9-9-3) on Saturday.

Portland’s Fernandez, an Argentine designated player signed in May, pounced on his scoring opportunities and showed accuracy Sunday. Counting his club’s win against a depleted Seattle side in the U.S. Open Cup in June, Fernandez has four goals against his rival.

Torres and Fernandez had multiple scuffles in the match and both teams kept the same fire postgame, spilling into the corridors headed to the locker rooms. There were no fines or suspensions assessed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

“If you look back at the last three goals we’ve taken, things happen,” Schmetzer said, including the 2-1 win against MLS defending champion Atlanta. “Our schemes are good. There will be a good response from us against Houston, a tough team, so let’s talk after Houston to see how we play defensively.”

Notes

  • Ruidiaz didn’t suffer any lingering effects from the collision he had with Clark in the 8th minute. The Sounders forward stayed in the match, scoring his team’s sole goal in the 50th minute. In 28 appearances since signing with Seattle last summer, Ruidiaz has 21 goals.
  • Sounders right winger Victor Rodriguez remains out with a left hamstring injury. Rodriguez, who turned 30 on Tuesday, has missed the past two matches due to the injury. He’s questionable to make the trip to Houston.